Our founder Laura spent months researching materials, nappy moulds and manufacturing technologies to see just how hard it would be to design a nappy that was soft, absorbent and well fitting, whilst reducing the impact on our planet.
Why? Laura had tried every nappy available. She discovered that most nappies contain polypropylene and polyethylene i.e. plastics and that they are typically made using petrochemicals, crude oil, chlorine and alcohol. Used nappies are then predominantly sent to landfill.
Laura had tried cloth nappies and like many parents, particularly those who are working, it wasn’t something she felt she could manage. As a mum, Laura found that many of the eco brands available either felt too papery, they weren’t absorbent enough and often they didn’t fit her babies well enough to keep everything in. She also found that some of the eco brands weren’t actually as kind to the environment as they might have customers believe.
I discovered so many switches could be made in both the materials and the manufacturing process.
Moso bamboo is the core material we use for our nappies and wipes and it has an incredible number of benefits. It’s the only woody crop that can grow at a rate that can keep up with the rate of human consumption. It doesn’t need fertilisers or pesticides, making it both natural and sustainable. Bamboo doesn’t need the false irrigation that cotton demands, again another win for the planet. It is also incredibly soft as a material, it is highly absorbent, naturally anti-bacterial, breathable and temperature regulating.
Laura designed a disposable nappy that was not only 80% biodegradable but one that stands up to scrutiny throughout the supply chain, from the materials we source, right through to the manufacturing process and the packaging we choose.
This summer we discovered a new corn starch material for our wrapping which, whilst it feels similar to plastic, is 100% compostable, it can go into food waste which is amazing.
As of this week our nappies will be packaged in a new corn starch wrapping - the research simply doesn’t stop. Our ambition remains to achieve a soft, high performance disposable nappy that is 100% biodegradable, whilst also not damaging our planet, either during manufacture or after the nappy has been used.
Today, there aren’t alternative materials for the small amount of plastic we have kept in the side tabs and the back panel – but we continue to look at new technologies and one day we are sure we will find a solution. Still, 80% biodegradability is no small achievement, and the small amount of plastic we have kept in the design is needed to make sure our nappies fit well and keep everything in!
The end-of-life of a nappy remains a challenge. Disposable nappies can be industrially composted or recycled. There are proven, working solutions that prevent nappies going into landfill - but they are not widely used in the UK.
22 councils in Wales are the only ones to have DEFRA led targets to divert 70% of waste away from landfill by 2025. Targets elsewhere are as low as 40% and it looks like these will not be met in several councils.
DEFRA need to drive this and put in place support, incentives and penalties so that all councils are prevented from taking the cheapest option which is landfill.
What can you do?
We are asking people to join us in a #NappyRevolution. Sign our petition:
Pay attention to what your council is doing with your waste and recycling, demand more from them.
Mama Bamboo have joined a small group of companies to have been certified as Ethically Accredited by the Good Shopping Guide. Mama Bamboo scored 92/100 points in the Guide's comparison of nappy brands, making us one of the highest rated brands available in the UK.